Sextech has been dominating headlines lately with the emergence of sex blankets, contraception apps, sex robots, and vibrators. It appears that 2023 is a summer of sextech, and the question arises, why now?
One reason is the breakdown of taboos surrounding the topic of sex. For a long time, discussing sex honestly and openly has been difficult, but this is rapidly changing. With the rise of better research on sex, especially led by women researchers and the #MeToo movement exposing misogynistic sex culture, the field of sex is opening up for new thinking and healing. More people are now participating in public discourse around sex.
Sextech has emerged as a crucial tool in facilitating the new, more expansive and diverse intimacies our culture is seeking. It offers a platform for exploring these ideas, leading to innovations that can change the ways people think and talk about sex.
Bryony Cole, creator of Future of Sex, a popular podcast on sex and technology, is a leading voice in the sextech field. She believes that sextech has opened up fantastic conversations about health, education, assault reporting, and intimacy while exploring how emerging technology may help to solve some issues in these categories.
Putting “tech” on the end of “sextech” makes talking about sex feel less intimidating and scary. Sextech has been remarkable in opening up awareness, increasing access to education and exploring women’s bodies, and their sexual pleasure. Cole noted that sextech has created a new language for women’s pleasure where there was none before as seen in OMGYes, an interactive sexual education platform.
In 2021, there appeared to be a surge in sextech products for women, covering pleasure to preventative health care. These products include kegel apps, wearables for painful sex, crystal dildos, and natural salves promoting vaginal health, among others. This trend has led to the coining of the term ‘vaginanomics’ by JWT Intelligence Agency, indicating the increasing products directed towards women’s sexual wellness.
The sextech industry is faced with unique challenges that other entrepreneurs don’t experience, such as hurdles around securing payment platforms and advertising on social media due to morality clauses and outdated perceptions of the industry. Additionally, women tend to underestimate themselves and hold themselves back from positions of power, making it even more important to have a strong network of women in the industry.
Alternative mentoring structures, like the Future of Sex hackathons and events, provide a safe space for those interested in the sextech industry to connect and collaborate. Networks like Women of Sex Tech can also be a valuable resource for women looking to break into the industry.
When discussing sextech, there are common misconceptions and blindspots. While virtual reality porn, robots, and vibrators tend to dominate headlines, the category of sextech goes far beyond pleasure. Sextech includes any technology designed to enhance sexuality and can address areas like sex education, gender identity, and empowerment.
One exciting development in the industry is the access that minorities groups have to define the future of sextech through events like hackathons. By empowering groups that are often invisible when it comes to sex – like those with disabilities, the aging population, and women – to gain access to technology and mentorship, they can offer their own insights and build products that serve their own needs.
Future of Sex is a leading authority in the modern sex-positive movement, pioneering sex-positive thought leadership, immersive events, hackathons and accelerators, and exploratory labs. Bryony Cole, the world’s leading authority on sextech, has launched the top-rated podcast Future of Sex and is an international speaker, writer, and producer, featured in media outlets like Wired and TechCrunch.
In conclusion, involving more women professionally in the sextech industry requires taking steps like promoting, listening, sharing a seat at the table, ensuring equality and diversity on panels and public platforms, and paying women equitably. Providing alternative mentoring structures and emphasizing the wide breadth of sextech beyond just pleasure can also help attract more women to the industry and empower them to make strides in shaping its future.